In 1922 the Gateway Area Council was formed and began chartering troops in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Troop 11 was chartered to St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral by the council on March 30, 1922. That is the earliest information I have been able to find about this troop. It is quite possible, in fact probable, that the troop was already in operation before that date. Bernard J. Volz appears to have been the first Scoutmaster.  Joseph Donndelinger was the Scoutmaster in 1924. Very little is know about the early years except that in 1924 August Grams became the first known Eagle Scout in the troop.

Unfortunately the troop disbanded in 1925. In December 1927 the troop was refomed with Robert Hackner as Scoutmaster.  Edward Bates became Scoutmaster in 1929 and stayed until October 1930. He was one of the Scouts listed in the earliest available charter form.  In October 1930 Henry Steppe, father of 1931 Eagle Robert, became Scoutmaster.  He remained Scoutmaster until late 1932 when his job took him to Milwaukee.  1931 and 1932 appear to have been successful years with 2 boys attaining the rank of Eagle in both years. From 1933 to 1939 the Troop was seemingly struggling as witnessed by a different Scoutmaster in every year. One remarkable statistic is that four boys who were members of Troop 11 went on to become Roman Catholic priests, John Paul, Phillip Leinfelder, Frank Guentner and Robert Hansen. Fr. Guentner is a Jesuit. Fr. Leinfelder was retired from the active ministry when he died in 1999. Fr. Hansen was a long time principal of Aquinas High School among his many assignments and resided at St. Joseph Rehabilitation Ctr. in La Crosse until his death. Bishop Paul is arguably our most distinguished alumnus having served as Rector of Holy Cross Seminary, Rector of our sponsor, St Joseph the Workman Cathedral and Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse.  His body is interred in the Blessed Sacrament chapel of the Cathedral

In 1939 Clarence Sexauer was Scoutmaster.  Fr. Robert Hansen (Eagle 1932) was assigned to serve as an assistant rector at the Cathedral and also agreed to be Scoutmaster starting in 1940. The Troop thrived under his leadership and saw 3 Eagle in 1940, 5 Eagles in 1941, 2 Eagles in 1942, and 3 Eagles in 1944. Included in this group were 3 sons of Thomas Skemp, Sr. In 1951 the other son became an Eagle and the Skemp family was cited for having 4 boys and 4 Eagle Scouts. 1945 started another period of frequent Scoutmaster change which lasted until 1949.

In 1949 Donald Welch (Eagle 1941) and Charles Weisensel (Eagle 1941) took over as Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster and started another period of success. In 1951 one boy earned his Eagle, another boy in 1952, still another in 1953, 4 in 1954 and one more in 1955. Also in this period Eagle Scout Robert Cook began hisr journey to the Catholic Priesthood. Fr. Robert Cook, ordained in 1965, has served as Vocation director, Rector of the Cathedral and pastor of St. Mary parish in Viroqua among other assignments.  He has been granted the status of Senior Priest and is resideing in La Crosse. It was also in this time period that the first Ad Altare Dei religious awards were earned by Troop members. Once again the Troop fell on hard times in the late 50s when Scoutmasters changed every year or so.

In 1960 Donald Lesky agreed to become Scoutmaster and became the second Scoutmaster to produce an Eagle who had not been a member as a boy. Under his Leadership the Troop produced one Eagle in 1961, 2 in 1962, and 3 in 1963.  John Leisgang (Eagle 1954) became Scoutmaster and had 2 Eagles in 1964.

In 1968 Larry Quillin became Scoutmaster.  He was followed by John Gilles who produced two Eagles in 1969, one in 1970 and 2 in 1971. John was succeeded by Robert Oldenburg who developed 2 Eagles in 1972, 3 in 1973, and 1 in 1975. Bob was followed by John Leisgang (Eagle 1954) who served from 1977 until April 1995. Under John's leadership there were 2 Eagles in 1977, 2 in 1978 and 1 in 1981. Due to recruitment problems the Troop almost folded in 1982. In the spring of 1982 a more reliable source of boys was found and the Troop was rebuilt. Eagles followed - 1 in 1985, 2 in 1986, 1 in 1989, 1 in 1990, 1 in 1991, 1 in 1993 and 1 in 1994. In 1995 John Leisgang resigned due to health problems.  There were 11 boys in the troop at this time.  All remained active and 10 were eventually recognized as Eagle Scouts

In the fall of 1995, Troop 11 started meeting with Troop 47 at State Road School under the leadership of Bruce Staples. In June of 1996 Bruce resigned as Scoutmaster of Troop 47 and became the Scoutmaster of Troop 11. Since then the Troop has become one of the largest Troops in the Gateway Area Council. It has produced 5 Eagles in 1997, 5 in 1998, 1 in 1999, 6 in 2000, 2 in 2001 and 21 in 2002.  At the end of October 2002 Bruce Staples resigned as Scoutmaster after the 75th anniversary celebration/ Eagle presentation for the 21 Eagle Scouts of 2002.  Bruce Staples was recognized by having the 2002 Eagle claas being named the Bruce Staples 2002 Eagle Class.

Monte Rentschler became Scoutmaster.  2003 saw 1 boy achieve the Eagle rank.  2003 was also a year of great sadness for Troop 11.  Bruce Staples, Committee Chair and immediate past Scoutmaster, was diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer in February and then died on December 7th. There was 1 more Eagle in 2004.  In late 2004 Scott King became Scoutmaster.  The troop had 4 Eagles in 2005 and 1 eagle in 2006. 

The fall of 2006 witnessed several changes in Scoutmaster with John Wiltinger replacing Scott King only to have a change in work schedule cause him to pass the reins on to Jason Hutzler.  . 

So far 2007 has been a productive year with 6 more Eagles being approved during the year.  Several additional Life Scouts are in the final stages of completing their work on Eagle.

2008 witnessed 1 more Eagle Scout. 

2009 saw 3 more Eagle Scouts with the 2009 Eagle clas being designated the John H. Leisgang 2009 Eagle Class.

2011 witnessed another change in leadership with SM Jason Hutzler being ordained to the permanent Deaconate and assigned to St. James the Less parish in North La Crosse.  He was replaced by Amy Bettis, our first woman SM.

Over the years less than 900 boys have joined Troop 11. Of these 121 have become Eagles and 5 have become Catholic Priests.

We are currently assembling a more complete history of Troop 11.  If you have any information about, pictures of or old documents about Troop 11 that you would like to share, please send copies to John Leisgang at 'jhleisgang@centurytel.net' or mail it to John at: 920 Pine Street, La Crosse, WI  54601-3420
A BRIEF HISTORY OF TROOP 11, BSA, LA CROSSE, WISCONSIN (updated 2-14-2007)
for historic pictures from the 1950s
to Troop 11 home page
for historic pictures from the 1960s
for historic pictures from the 1970s
for historic pictures from the 1980s
for historic pictures from the 1990s
for High adventure and Jamboree group pics
for historic pictures from the 2000s
for historic pictures from the 1940s and before
for pictures of Eagle Scouts
for recent pictures
for 75th anniversary pages